Finally finished the painting! Hope you guys like it. I’m glad I decided to continue it even after leaving it for several months. I think I’m getting the hang of digital painting, especially when it comes to blending and lighting, not perfect, but getting there; it makes me feel great!
A quick update on things, firstly I hope you guys enjoyed Part 19 of Valley of Humanity. It’s getting slightly darker and grittier now and I think the situation the characters are going through justifies it somewhat. The character I’m intrigued with and enjoy writing the most is Drala. I think she has a dark past hidden somewhere and, despite being tough and highly skilled, she has a vulnerability which may have some impact later on. I haven’t planned that far ahead though so I’m not sure what’s going to happen myself, but I’m sure it’ll be interesting!
The Star Wars painting project is coming along nicely. I think I’ve finished the rough version of one of the elements; a clean-up will be needed before the proper painting begins though. Today I’m starting on another one of the elements which, annoying, features a ridiculous amount of detail on its topside… Wish me luck!
Finally, by the end of the week I should have finished American Gods. It’s been a nice journey with some extremely weird people and places, but alas, it’s time to return to the Banished Lands and find out what’s happened since I last left…
Anyway, here she is: The Nebari Chiana from Farscape:
Farscape was created by Rockne S.O’Bannon and produced by Jim Henson Productions.
‘I think I can hear fighting!’ said Kele, peering at the direction Drala had gone. ‘She want us to stay here, Kele,’ said Drath, ‘if she’s in a fight then there isn’t much we can do’. Kele knew the inventor was right. Whilst Kele may have killed someone himself a short time ago, he was hardly skilled enough to fight a group of hunters, or whatever opponents Drala could be facing at this very moment. ‘I want to fight with her, not hide from these traitors,’ he said, before falling silent. They sat side by side against a young Corren tree, between two of its many trunks. The rain pattered about them, only some of which made it through the leaves and branches to splash upon their heads. Drath patted Kele’s shoulder. ‘You’ll get your chance Kele, but for now be thankful you have someone like Drala fighting for you. Not many can claim they have such a loyal friend right now!’ Drath’s words echoed in Kele’s mind for some time; the only thing he could do was wait. He took another look around the tree and began once again searching for movement and listening for sound. If there had been any fighting it had stopped now, but something hung in the air still and Kele grew more impatient with each passing moment. I hope she’s alright…
Drala swept and jerked her body dodging Hyde’s heavy punches. She sliced and swiped her blade at him but the skilled warrior was fast. He was unarmed and fighting one of the best hunters of the village, yet Drala felt exhaustion begin to take her. He was good, really good. She had a weapon and he used only his fists. She should naturally have had the advantage against this opponent, but she was losing. Hyde grinned joyfully as he avoided Drala’s attacks whilst attempting to land his own blows and keeping to the sides of Drala’s vision. Drala thought about running, just for a moment but it was a logical thought; Hyde was just too skilled to handle in her state. As Hyde slipped sideways to avoid a downward strike he stepped in close and Drala suddenly felt the wind knocked out of her chest. It was like her inner self had been forced out of her body leaving a stunned and exposed shell. She fell to her knees. Hyde chuckled, a dry, wheezing giggle. ‘Yes, I really am enjoying this,’ he said as he walked away. Then he turned and Drala had no time to avoid the heavy kick to her face, jerking her head to the side; she could have sworn she heard her neck crack. There was darkness, only for a moment, then the cold and wet ground sent its chill through the side of her face and she felt relieved when she could still breathe and move her head.
But Hyde could do whatever he wanted now, so long as she lay there in pain. Kele!
Hyde circled her and prodded her side with his foot. ‘Surely not?!’ Surely that’s not all from the great hunter?’ Hyde walked slowly away once more. He continued: ‘Then again, it won’t be the first time you left someone to die,’ then he turned and smiled at her, the same nasty smile as before and ran up for another kick. With every remaining drive and strength within her, Drala forced her upper body to the side and clamped both arms around Hyde’s armoured leg as it swung into the place her head should have been. The contact of the metal armour plating from both his leg and her right forearm sent a numbing shock through her entire arm, but still she held on tighter with her left, lifting it high and with a pain filled roar pushed herself from the wet ground and threw the shocked hunter onto the ground.
Drala wasted no time in picking up her blade and moved to stand above Hyde who, seeing Drala standing tall above him, decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to get up.
Drala held the blade at his neck, pushing the tip lightly into the flesh. Hyde moaned in pain. He wouldn’t be fighting for a while, thought Drala.
‘You wouldn’t kill an unarmed opponent Drala, you don’t have it in you,’ he snarled.
The female hunter stood there for a few moments. She wanted to finish it, there and then, but he was beaten and clearly in pain with a blade to his throat. ‘You’re right, Hyde. I can’t do it,’ and with that, she walked away, only to turn and kick him hard in the side of his head. Hyde yelped and spat some blood. The red fluid ran down his cheek, its flow increased with each drop of rain. ‘Of course,’ said Drala smiling down at him, ‘I did owe you that one,’ and she walked away for the last time.
Kele and Drath sat in silence. The noise had fully stopped and they began to fear they were now alone in their escape from Lycian and their homeland.
Kele continuously watched from behind the tree trying to make out if any figures stood behind the foliage and rainfall.
Kele jumped twenty feet out of his skin before he managed to return and see who had half whispered, half shouted his name.
Drala stood a short way away. It was the first time he’d been truly happy to see anyone since Nelco had saved him from the East Crater.
‘Drath, Kele, let’s go!’ she whispered. Drath got to his feet quickly and Kele followed him, then the two of them snuck over to her.
‘What happened?’ asked Kele, looking into warrior’s green eyes, trying not to pay attention to the blood on her armour and the cuts upon her worn face. Drala held up a hand and silently scanned the forest; a few moments past before she finally relaxed. ‘Hunters,’ she said matter-of-fact-ly. ‘They wanted me to hand you over,’ she looked into Kele’s eyes and smiled. ‘Don’t worry though, I’ve taken care of them.’
All this for me, all because of a birth right, he thought sadly to himself, wandering if Drala was reading his thoughts.
‘Let’s get moving,’ said Drala, and the small company disappeared together into Corren Wood.
So it’s been almost two weeks since my last post. My apologies, I just felt there wasn’t much to update you guys with last week so I decided to continue to work on some things. First off I’ve completed the short biographies of at least four characters out of a possible six for my fan-fiction project. Because of some needed tension and character depth, I’ve taken some liberties with the personal lives of the original characters and added some little quirks and backstory. I want them to be intriguing; bad yet likable, and good yet they do bad things. The made up characters and the lesser known ones will be the observers but will still have some key effect on the outcome of the storylines. As I think I’ve said before, this is all only for fun, but still something I’ve always wanted to do. A few of my friends have done quite a lot of fan-fiction and I want to have a good stab at it.
Practicing drawing legs is going well. The Anatomy Essentials magazine shows not just the general shape, but also the muscle structure underneath. However it’s the length and sizes of legs which is my main failing so I figure I’ll just keep working through the whole section of the book and at the same time keep up with the Posemaniacs gesture drawings. That way things will fall into place quicker. Ah well, only time and practice will tell!
Keeping on the subject of art, I’ve upgraded to Corel Painter 2017 and I can’t wait to see what it can do. I’ve already used the new drawer system. Basically the windows where such things as colour, papers, brush settings etc… are displayed can be hidden by double clicking the tab part, leaving only the tab. This is a great way of removing obstructions without having to press the keyboard tab to remove every panel each time you need space. Anyway, so far it’s been cool to use and I haven’t tried all the new brushes yet so I better get on that. I have however, been practicing painting explosions for a certain large personal project and after a few first tries (one using a tutorial) I think I’ve made some progress and would like to share with you guys. So here it is, explosion test number 3 using the oils in Corel Painter 2017:
More to come!
So hope you guys enjoyed Valley of Humanity Part 18. It was predominantly an action orientated part, and that theme will run into Part 19 as well. It was a little challenging to write a couple of one on one fights, trying to capture all the movements and feeling that would go into close quarters combat. I need to pick up the pace with these a little, otherwise I’ll spend way too much time trying to write one part and never get anything else done.
With writing in mind, my fanfic project is coming along slowly. I need to figure out a timeline using the important dates and events within the lore. The characters haven’t been fully listed with biographies yet either so that’ll be a long task ahead of me. Some will be characters of my own invention and will serve as a way of looking at the important players at key areas of their lives. One of my main inspirations is the TV show Boardwalk Empire. That show is set in the 1920’s and follows the various gangsters living at that time during the Prohibition. In the series some of the characters are fictitious and are used as a perspective view on the real life figures in history, a couple of which end up taking part in key moments in history.
I guess that’s what I want to do in mine. Which ones will survive though, will be an interesting choice to make…
I’ve done two sets of figure drawings over the last few weeks (gah!). Yeah…I need more practice. I’ve let things slide too often and far lately and now I’m having a little trouble drawing the human form with the correct anatomy. The main difficulty I have at the moment is drawing legs and making sure the height of the figure is correct. The legs seem to end up looking like a rag dolls legs: loosely attached to a solid upper body and left to flop in the wind. And so, I’m going to focus on the legs aspect of human figures and how they connect to the rest of the body.
Finally, I’m now on the final stretch of American Gods! Finally things are building up and coming to a close. It’s a good book, with good characters. I just want to move on soon. I’ll be glad that I read it, and when the TV show comes out I can poke holes or praise it, knowing I’ve actually read the book; unlike when the Game Of Thrones TV show came out. I enjoy that series, but I’ve never (nor do I plan to) read the books. I’m sure they’re great though!
So here we go, some of the figures I drew recently:
The bolt left the crossbow faster than a flash of thunder, yet somehow, to Drala’s horror, Hyde sidestepped leaving enough space for it to ram with a thud into the tree behind him. It was still after that, just another branch sticking half an inch away from the hunter’s ear. Hyde smiled a nasty and self-pleasing smile. The other two hunters sprang into action. Drala ducked a hard swing from a blade and whilst stepping beside the attacker, drew her own blade and sent a counter swipe at his back. It missed, but Drala was able to steady herself and prepare for the next attack. The other hunter was circling around them and waiting for his moment to strike, to prove himself in battle. The first hunter had no such patience. He charged at Drala, low and ready to strike, but Drala took one step backward and swung the heavy crossbow hitting the hunter across the head, sending him off his line of charge and into the ground.
The other hunter, now seeing his opportunity, drew a second blade, holding both weapons confidently. Drala had never seen one of her own kind so joyful in the face of danger. It disturbed her. What has he done to them? The thought stabbed through her mind almost as quick as left it. The eager hunter stepped toward her, blades shimmering slightly in the small columns of light from the uneven canopy above. Drala dropped her crossbow and readied her own blade. Off to the side, Hyde looked up at them every so often. He was leaning against the tree and studying the bolt that should have pinned his limp corpse to the wood. The eager hunter began his attack and Drala was pushed into a defensive position, their blades clashing in a flurry of flashing metal and loud clanging that rang through the woods around them. She had to admit, he was good. There was a youthful speed to his attacks and Drala found herself struggling to block each blow. She moved round him, trying to keep on the outside of his dual attacks; she remained constantly aware of Hyde’s presence nearby, waiting for when he would finally get bored and decide to join in. The young hunter was fast, but Drala was faster. As he took mostly short steps whilst skilfully manoeuvring both blades to attempt to strike her, Drala was light on her feet, ducking and parrying when she needed to. She was sweating and could feel her body heat up and her muscles work twice as hard, but she held her ground. The young hunter was becoming sluggish – only slightly – but wielding the two swords was costing him strength and Drala was still full of it.
Now it was her turn.
She launched her own flurry of blows at different angles and heights, forcing the young hunter to retreat backwards, his exhaustion obvious and Drala could see defence begin to fall, bit by bit. Their blades clashed and clashed; two hunters in the moment, both together and alone: two souls fighting to stay in the world.
An opening appeared.
As the young hunter swung a lazy attack downward, Drala dodged sideways and thrust her blade into his side. It wasn’t a deep wound, the layer of light armour had kept all but the tip of the blade out of his flesh, but it was enough to make him yelp in pain and cower backward clutching his side. Dark spots appeared on the wet grass as he moved back. Drala took very little time to recover and turned to face Hyde. He was still leaning against the tree and glanced up from the bolt he’d been casually studying. He smiled and cast it lightly to the floor. ‘You two, get out of my sight, now!’ The wounded pair crawled between Drala and Hyde, then with a collective moaning of pain they got to their feet and broke into limping run. They disappeared from view.
Drala and Hyde stood opposite each other; the woods watched them in silence. ‘I’m going to enjoy this,’ said Hyde. And with that, he lunged forward.
First week completed! It’s been bit interesting, mostly because I didn’t get as much done as I thought I would have. That being said it was nice to be able to work on something fresh and different for a change. This week was essentially just for brainstorming and seeing what I could get done under a stricter timeframe. I found that I must do anatomy and figure drawing each day anyway, it’ll be the main bulk of the focus during these six months and the writing side of things will be secondary.
So Valley of Humanity Part 18 will be up soon, just need to finalise the draft and type it up. I’m thinking of setting aside Saturdays as the allocated day to writing all things story-blogging. I have more time on the weekends to do the little projects that aren’t part of the main 6 months focus anyway. It’ll be done by next week and hopefully I can post it Saturday, maybe Sunday.
With the main writing focus, I started working on a character list with a short biography for each one. I got the main character down, only to realise that I had already started one a while back and completed almost exactly the same amount (and like this one: not a lot!). So from tomorrow I will do one character a day, looking at their background, their personalities and their role within the story. I may write it rough and type it all up at the end of the week, that way I can be fast and loose and not worry about having to correct mistakes.
So finally the art stuff. Not much to say on this subject, other than that I’ve started working through the Anatomy Essentials magazine once again. It seems to be going quite well; the last six months of anatomy and figure drawings are really starting to show through. It’s made it easier to see what the artists in the magazine are trying to show in their instructions. I look forward to the challenges ahead!
This is a portrait sketch I did from a friend’s design of Jamie Lannister that she made using the Dragon Age Inquisition character creator: